11.08.2011
A Date with Destiny

"All the stars aligned for us. Everything came together like destiny."

This was the heartfelt explanation of Bench stylist Noel Manapat as he retold the fascinating story of how Bench, the number one fashion brand in the Philippines, came to be featured on the immensely popular Hollywood TV production America's Next Top Model cycle 17, in a once-in-a-lifetime shoot in Greece.

It began with a single orchestrator, a man with a classic rags-to-riches tale named Michael Carandang. Born in the Philippines in 1979, he and his family migrated from Batangas to Indiana, USA, when he was 13 years old. Through hard work and sheer determination, Michael climbed a fast ladder to success as he went from production assistant for the Jerry Springer Show to producer of the Tyra Banks show. In 2009, he and the Tyra Banks Show team won an Emmy award for Outstanding Talk Show, a symbolic fulfillment of both the American Dream and the Filipino Dream combined. All this landed him his present position as producer for Tyra's current hit show America's Next Top Model (ANTM).

Fast forward to mid-2011. Bench proprietor Ben Chan receives word that Michael Carandang was eager to feature Bench Body underwear on ANTM. The shoot would be in Greece, and every aspect of the project would have to be done in utmost secrecy. Ben excitedly and hurriedly put together a team to fly to Greece and make it all happen. Celebrity TV host, model and longtime Bench underwear endorser Georgina Wilson was tapped to be the brand's Grand Ambassador, and Noel Manapat was called in as fashion director. They packed hundreds of Bench underwear samples to give the show's crew a near-infinite variety of merchandise to choose from.

"It was like this top secret operation," remembers Georgina. "They called me up and when I got to the airport I didn't even know where we were going! I couldn't even tell my family or my boyfriend. So when I found out that it was America's Next Top Model and it was going to be in Greece, I was just so happy and excited. And very, very proud that a Filipino brand had gone that far!"

Turns out Georgina has been an avid fan of the show since its inception, as well as admirer of Tyra Banks. She says, "Tyra is super stunning in person, and very sharp and very smart, but also down-to-earth. Everything she says or does is well thought of."

For the episode, the five semi-finalists were to model in their selected Bench Body underwear in extremely challenging positions while on an outdoor location shoot in Crete, Greece.

Regarding the episode, Georgina says, "All I can say is that production was very, very difficult. Taping the show was tough!"

    The back story here involves another Filipino design talent, the Dubai-based Michael Cinco, whose work was featured in the past season cycle 16. Michael Carandang was eager to use a Filipino couturier, and took a chance with Cinco. The risk paid off - Tyra, the rest of the judges and the crew were all deeply impressed with Cinco's incredible designs, and so Cinco's work was to be featured again in the current season for the shoot in Greece. This became the springboard for Carandang to bring in more Filipino talent and creativity, and this is where Bench came into the picture.

"The timing was perfect. It was just right place, right time, right people," relates Noel Manapat. "The key here is that Michael Carandang, though he grew up in the US, is still very close to his Filipino roots. He still regularly comes back to the country to stay in touch with where he came from. HIs love for his country is innate, and he speaks Tagalog so well. And so I think it has always been his mission to try to push Filipino talent in whatever way he can."

Georgina adds, “The episode will truly showcase the Philippines as this creative, fashionable place where you can find really amazing talent.”

"It was such a validation," Noel concludes. "To see a Filipino brand worn by these beautiful women for an international fashion reality program only proves that we truly live in a borderless world."

And not to forget - what better place than Greece, which has celebrated the human form in its arts for thousands of years, to be the setting for this wild and merry mixed Greek salad of beautiful bodies, beautiful undergarments, and beautiful intentions, all tossed together for a beautiful rendezvous with destiny.

The America's Next Top Model's episode will air on November 9, 2011, on the CW Network in the USA. America’s Next Top Model will air in the Philippines on November 14, 2011 on the ETC Channel on Mondays, 8:00-9:00pm, with replays on Thursdays at 9:00-10:00pm, Fridays at 3:00-4:00pm and Sundays at 7:00 – 7:45pm.

 

   

 

 

RELATED PRESS RELEASES
07.16.2014
Ellen Adarna Steps Up as Bench Body’s Latest Endorser
Ellen Adarna adds her brand of sexy to Bench Body’s list of hot endorsers.
06.25.2014
Lee Min Ho’s Fall Fashion Rules of Style
Korean global superstar Lee Min Ho headlines Bench’s Fall 2014 Collection.
06.06.2014
Effortlessly Sexy: Marian Rivera for Bench Body
She's a formidable force to reckon with on and off the screen due to her impeccable acting and no-holds-barred personality.
05.26.2014
A Dose of Liberation
Borgy Manotoc releases his very own fragrance, Liberate, for Bench’s Celebrity Scents Collection.
05.19.2014
BENCH/ Kicks Off The Back-To-School Season In Style
Local retail giant Bench launches its latest collection with a campaign that jumpstarts the autumn season with stylish, fun, and playful clothing options that are breezy enough for scorching hot days and are rendered with just the right amount of coziness
04.15.2014
Now's The Time To Bare-ready
Daily exposure to sunlight could take a toll on one’s skin, causing it to darken and look dull.
04.01.2014
Game On With The Paras & Teng Brothers
Local retail giant Bench isn’t an industry leader for nothing.
02.01.2014
BENCH Changes Lives by Supporting the Mission Possible Project
Congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez and the Bench family have joined forces to uplift the lives of Typhoon Yolanda victims in the 4th District of Leyte through 6200: The Mission Possible Project.
02.01.2014
Achieve the Twin Effect with Bench Fix
Bench Fix doubles the fun this season as it experiments with dual looks for its campaign.
02.01.2014
Lee Min Ho for Bench Celebrity Scents
Global Benchsetter, Lee Min Ho, is conquering the world, one heart at a time. The Korean star, who recently hit 11 million likes on his Facebook page, cements his presence in the Philippines by endorsing So in Love and Sure Blue Eau de Toilette for Bench.
01.30.2014
Moving To Their Own Beat
While consumers may always be on the lookout for the trendiest wardrobe items to shop for, they also seek classic staples which are fashioned to fit the current times.
12.05.2013
Make Way For BENCH/'s Latest Pair
If a celebrity is among the continuously growing roster of endorsers of local retail giant and global brand BENCH/, then it only means he’s hot, sexy, and in-demand.
12.05.2013
Come On, Come All: BENCH/’s Holiday 2013 Campaign
The Holiday season is just around the corner. A season of giving, receiving, and of course, lots of shopping, local retail giant BENCH/ sets the (fashion) bar high with a collection that draws inspirations from both sheer grandiosity and utter simplicity.
12.05.2013
BENCH/ Teens Holiday Collection: Blog-Worthy Festive Fashion
Teens have never been as style-conscious as they are today. The rise of social networking sites have fueled an influx of outlets for modern teens to express themselves through fashion. At the helm of this style revolution are young stars Juliana Gomez and
11.30.2013
Holidays With The Stars
Global retail brand BENCH/, re-launches top-selling fragrances from its Celebrity Scents Collection in time for the holidays. Accompanying the re-launch is a fresh new campaign featuring BENCH/setters Piolo Pascual, Anne Curtis, Lovi Poe, Coco Martin, Geo
11.18.2013
Gift Shopping At BENCH/
It’s Christmas once again, a season of giving and receiving. Now, you need not sweat the small stuff, because Bench has made gift shopping enjoyable for you.
08.14.2013
La Nuit de Solenn
Dérouler le tapis rouge (roll out the red carpet): Multi-talented artist and well-loved “It girl,” Solenn Heussaff, joins the Bench family as Bench Body’s latest endorser.
07.26.2013
Bench Goes For Actor Taylor Lautner
Bench sure knows how to surprise the local market with its lineup of international celebrity endorsers, welcoming Hollywood actor Taylor Lautner to the local fashion scene. Kids, teens, the young at heart, and all of Team Jacob will be delighted, no doubt
07.17.2013
Double The Fun With Bench's Endorsers Mavy And Cassy
Celebrity twins Mavy and Cassy are growing up with the Bench family.
07.12.2013
Look Cool In School With Bench
That long, sweet summer is over and it will surely be missed. The school bell is chiming and it’s now time to get back to books!
07.10.2013
Daniel Padilla For Bench Daily Scent And Spell
The newest endorser for Bench Daily Scent and Daily Spell is none other than teen actor Daniel Padilla.
06.24.2013
Back To School Basics
Pants are a campus wardrobe essential. Bench understands this need and unveils its latest collection set to dominate school hallways this year.
06.06.2013
BENCH/ Body Brings Home The Bacon
A huge thumbs up to BENCH/ Body, which brought home an award as one of the top ten underwear brands at the recently held Shenzhen International Brand Underwear Fair in China.
05.30.2013
Who Is Paolo Roldan?
Looking at Bench’s latest campaign photos for Bench Body, you might have to squint a bit to think who this latest hunk is to grace the brand’s underwear campaign.
05.22.2013
Scents Of The Stars
Inspired by the best qualities of the country's biggest stars Bench is relaunching its fragrance collaborations with Richard Gomez and Lucy Torres-Gomez, Ogie Alcasid, Regine Velasquez, Kris Aquino and Gretchen Barretto.
04.26.2013
BENCH/ Fashion for the New Generation
Bench launches its new campaign and introduces the brand’s fresh-faced Julia and Claudia Barretto and Juliana Gomez.
04.09.2013
BENCH/ X Mich Dulce
BENCH/ tackles the whimsy with designer Mich Dulce, creating a collection unlike any other before.
03.26.2013
BENCH “It Girl and Boy”
The summer heat is upon us, as well as a new crop of It Girls and Boys who definitely bring up the temperature.
02.14.2013
The Scent of Beauty And Brains
Bench is introducing a new scent in collaboration with the ever-charming Georgina Wilson.
02.14.2013
Bench Unveils Hot Summer Collection
The country's hottest stars are at the forefront of Bench's Summer 2013 collection.
02.01.2013
New Bench Campaign For Korean Stars Siwon And Donghae
Bench really knows how to be timely, riding the huge K-pop wave in the Philippines.
12.04.2012
Bench Fix Salon Celebrates Its 10th Year
This 2012, Bench Fix Salon is celebrating its 10th year anniversary.
07.04.2012
Bench Family Goes Back to School
The Bench family goes all out in its latest campaign as showbiz and fashion royalty show us why it’s cool to go back to school.
07.03.2012
Cotton On to officially open in the Philippines
Cotton On, the world renowned Australian brand, will be opening stores in the Philippines this year.
07.01.2012
Bench @ 25 in Hong Kong
In connection with Bench’s 25th Anniversary, Suyen Corporation Executives’ Virgilio Lim, Nenita Lim together with Bench CEO Ben Chan gave 200 employees a much deserved vacation to Hong Kong.
05.17.2012
Shop In Style With Bench Mastercard
Celebrities, bloggers, and the who’s who of the retail industry all gathered at Salon de Ning at The Peninsula Manila last April 25, to witness the launch of a great new addition to their shopping experience: Bench MasterCard.
03.23.2012
Summer Eruption
The Philippine Rugby Volcanoes turn the summer heat a notch higher with their sizzling new ads for retail giant Bench.
02.08.2012
I Love Lucy
Lucy Hale is Bench’s newest endorser
02.08.2012
The Bench Guide to a Global Summer
Bench explores the capitals of Havana, Hawaii, and the French Riviera
01.02.2012
Quick Fix
Get a hold of Bench Fix’s Hairstyling tools
11.17.2011
Jessy Mendiola Shines Anew in Herbench
Herbench welcomes the lovely young actress into its roster of endorsers
11.08.2011
A Date with Destiny
America's Next Top Model Features Bench Body!
11.08.2011
Designer Luxe At Reach
Randy Ortiz to collaborate with the Bench group
10.26.2011
Bimby for Bench Tweeners
Baby James comes into his own with his own campaign
10.23.2011
Bench Bags International Honors — Again
Bench is the only Filipino winner at this year’s FAPRA Awards.
09.30.2011
New Scent
Launched by Bench and Ogie Alcasid
09.25.2011
Record-Breaking Scents
Ogie Alcasid signature cologne
09.02.2011
Smell Like A Star
Kathryn Bernardo for Bench Daily Spell scents
07.29.2011
Bench Body Does It Again
New campaign revealed